Monday, January 24, 2011

Quilt in the Frame

This is the quilt I put in the frame yesterday. The pattern is a Robbing-Peter-to-Pay Paul variation of Snowball hand-pieced by my husband's great-aunt Clara, circa 1950. The blocks are 7" square and they are set 8 blocks by 11 for a size of 54" x 77".

Friday, January 21, 2011

January Goals

My quilty goals are to finish quilting, bind, and label my Happy Baskets Quilt (a variation of the one shown in the photo) and to bind my Jockey Cap quilt. The Happy Baskets is a liberated basket from a book by Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran. The Jockey Cap is a Kaffe Fasset quilt kit I bought from Glorious Color. The quilt is based on one in the Albert and Victoria Museum. I also want to finish piecing Persian Garden, another Kaffe Fasset kit.

My knitting goals for this month are to finish my Sage socks and perhaps even knit another pair of baby socks.

That's a lot and I'm not sure I'll be able to finish everything.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

50 Things that Make Me Happy

I've been reading Willa's Journal for many years. It was from her I first heard about "blogging" and she inspired me to start one. Of course, now I have ummm...several (I'm not counting them!), but that's not her fault.

Not long ago she listed 50 things that make me happy. I've decided to copy her and do the same.

1. Savoring a cup of coffee au lait early in the morning
2. Burrowing in under flannel sheets and quilts on cold, dark winter nights
3. Waking up to birds singing just before dawn
4. Blueberries, especially a bowl of blueberries with milk and brown sugar
5. Starting a new quilt
6. Finishing a quilt
7. Opening a book by one of my favorite authors and beginning to read
8. Wearing hand knit socks
9. Spending the afternoon quilting on a rainy day
10. Saying something funny and watching John smile
11. Putting on a wool sweater
12. John fixing breakfast when I sleep in late and dinner when I work late
13. Wildflowers
14. Hearts on valentines and on quilts
15. Doll quilts of all kinds
16. Knitting a complicated pattern and finally "getting it"
17. Making applesauce
18. Eating warm applesauce
19. Babies giggling
20. Eating a piece of toast with marmalade with a cup of Earl Gray tea
21. Finding just the right journal article for someone at the reference desk and watching their face light up
22. Believing I have a guardian angel
23. Walking hand-in-hand with John
24. Seeing or hearing from any of my sons
25. Watching chickens and hearing them softly clucking, which sounds like singing
26. Hearing the clock tower chimes at the university where I work
27. A fire in the fireplace
28. Watching snowflakes falling
29. Thunderstorms in summer
30. Lilacs
31. Finding a Quiltmania magazine I don't have
32. Baskets of all kinds
33. Time to do whatever I want
34. Falling asleep when reading
35. Playing with my fabrics and deciding on a new quilt
36. Sewing doll clothes
37. Realizing I need new clothes a size or two smaller than what I'm wearing
38. Listening to Mozart while driving near the river
39. Picnics
40. A small slice of homemade blackberry pie with ice cream
41. The smell of vinegar and spices when making bread and butter pickles in August
42. The sun warm on my face
43. Petting a cat
44. Watching sheep herding dog trials
45. Hearing a really funny joke
46. Writing with a very sharp pencil
47. Dark green
48. Smelling bacon frying and freshly brewed coffee when waking up
49. Using my mother's Featherweight sewing machine
50. Sweet peas (the flower)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

This Time of Year

I love this time of year when everything is bare and stark. There are touches of color here and there, but not much, and the colors that are there are muted.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Books Read--January, 2011

1. Angel Time: The Songs of the Seraphim, Book One by Anne Rice
2. Of Love and Evil: The Songs of the Seraphim, Book Two by Anne Rice
3. Interweave Presents Knitted Gifts: Irresistible Projects to Make and Give by Ann Budd (NF)
4. The Short Forever by Stuart Woods
5. Not a Girl Detective by Susan Kandel
6. Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell
7. Beautiful Sheep: Portraits of Champion Breeds by Kathryn Dun (NF)
8 Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag
9. I Still Dream about You by Fannie Flagg
10. Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
11. The Attenbury Emeralds: A New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery by Jill Paton Walsh
12. The Sentry by Robert Crais
13. Tick Tock by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Quilt Kits and Heirloom Tool Chest

I have a lot of quilt kits. I don't know exactly how many because they're scattered in different boxes, cupboards, and closets. I'm going to find out though because John offered me the use of his great-grandfather's tool chest to put some of my things in. I'd thought first to use it store quilt tops, but was afraid they might get snagged or stained. Then I thought about yarn, but same worries. Most of my quilt kits, however, are packaged. And those that aren't can be.

Some background about this tool chest. It's over 100 years and was used by my husband's great-grandfather, Niels Rasmussen. He was a master carpenter and moved to the United States from Denmark at the turn of the century. This was not his master carpenter tool chest, but a rougher one he used every day.

Then the scary part. Finding out how many quilt kits I have. I suspect I have more than will fit in the chest. The good thing is that maybe I'll actually start making some of these quilts.

Later: So far I've found 16 quilt kits and 2 hooked rug kits.
Much Later: Oh, Lord, I've found more than 30 quilt kits. The chest is now packed and I still have more. I'm thinking I may be selling some of these on Ebay.

My Practical Resolutions

These are my more mundane resolutions for 2011.

1.Continue to eat a healthy diet and exercise
I began this a couple of years ago and now that I am a "woman of a certain age" or, more truthfully a "woman of a certain age, plus", it's even more important. A health scare last year really made me aware of why this must be a priority.

2. Update my blogs more consistently
I've let some of my blogs languish. The problem is, of course, that I have too many of them! I am focusing on four this year and this one is the first. I'm not going to put a number out there--post twice a week or four times a month--but letting almost an entire year go by without updating is just unacceptable.

3. Knit 2 pairs adult socks and 1 pair baby socks a month.
I was overly ambitious last year and tried to finish 4 pairs of adult socks and 2 pairs of baby ones every month and I did it for a time, but eventually I burned myself out. Knitting Only Socks is the second (the first one is this blog) that I will post to more often.

4.Do more charity knitting.
I will post about this on yet another blog, Knitting for Peace.

5. Complete 2 doll quilts a month and 4 full size quilts this year.

I have plenty of ideas and plenty of fabrics. What I don't have enough of is time. This may be overly ambitious and I may have to modify this goal. I will post updates on my doll quilts on Only Doll Quilts. I'll write about the full size quilts I complete on this one.

6. Remember to list the names of the books read (at least 100) I read this year.
I easily read 100 books a year, but I forget to keep track of them. I'll try to do better.

7. Learn to play the violin.
I have to admit my husband is not too thrilled with this one, but this is something I've talked about doing for the past year and haven't followed through. A friend gave me some great tips about where to find a teacher willing to take on a more "mature" student. And really. My husband should be thankful I've decided to give up the idea of learning how to tap dance!

Oh! And one more resolution! Don't start any more blogs!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I wrote this at the end of 2004. I'm still working on them.
Every New Year's resolution is a small gift wrapped in shiny paper that I give to myself and I want to chose it carefully. It wasn't until two weeks into 2004, after a great deal of thinking and considering different ideas, that I decided on nurturing serenity as my resolution. So, again, I begin the process. My resolutions aren't always practical or concrete or measurable. They're certainly not easy. I can't claim that I kept my resolution of nurturing serenity all the times I could have last year but I do feel more patient and calmer and that was the whole point.

After spending yesterday evening at my in-laws house, a house crammed full of stuff everywhere you turn, where it's impossible to focus on anything because there is just too much, my resolution includes to get rid of things that I don't need, don't want or will never use. There are some things I will keep for sentimental reasons, others because they're practical, but I will begin looking at the things in my house with a far more critical eye. Some things will be stored, others given away and others sold. I do not want to be eighty years old and spending most of the little time I have left on this earth taking care of inanimate objects while also trying to figure out how to get rid of them like my in-laws are doing now.

I also want to simplify my inner life. I have a tendency to make everything much too complex. I examine things too closely, try to determine all the possibilities beforehand and spend inordinate amounts of time making decisions about things which really aren't all that important. I do that partly because I dislike unpleasant surprises, have a tendency to be a perfectionist and want to feel in control. Yes, I am aware of how ironic it is that I will spend so much time determining my New Year's resolution but I'll argue that it doesn't apply because the resolution I decide on is not unimportant. At least, not to me.

I want to include three of the components I had last year.

I pray in bits and pieces throughout my day. I don't use long and formal prayers. I pray when I'm driving, when I fold laundry, when I cut carrots and roll out pie dough. I pray when I sweep the front porch or water flowers or see birds or sing. Prayer is an important part of my daily life.

Expect Joy
Sometimes I miss the little pieces of joy that are around me.

Accept Grace
Accepting grace is far more difficult than it seems. Part of it is having faith and sometimes mine wavers.

That's a start. I'll see where it leads me in the next few weeks.

Making Lists

I am an inveterate list maker. I make all kinds of lists. I even make lists of lists! I find it's the best way to get things accomplished and crossing an item off a list is very satisfying.

I've made a list of socks I want to knit and other items (hats, mittens, and scarves) as well. Some are for charity, some for gifts, and some for me! Others are class samples as I want to teach at least one knitting class a month. I'm also thinking of knitting a sweater for myself, but I have yet to find a pattern I like. I've made a list of quilts, both doll/small sized and bed size, to make. I want to read at least 100 books this year and this time keep track of them! I'm determined to lose the remaining excess weight, to eat healthier, and to exercise.

Today I'll take Christmas down and put it away until next year, catch up on laundry, and plan meals for next week. I've had three weeks off work, but go back on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting next week. This first week I'll only be working half days.

I hope you have a very Happy New Year!